Yes. Palestine. Few people were wondering why the hell would we want to go there for Christmas, well, why not! We were a little nervous about it but excited at the same time.
After getting through passport control and collecting our bag we made our way to the transit point where the bus would take us to Jerusalem. We were a bit shocked when we got on the bus at first. It was pretty full, mainly with Israeli soldiers, carrying huge guns. It was a silent journey on the bus to Jerusalem.
Once we arrived in Egged bus station in Jerusalem we had to pass through metal detectors. At first it seemed weird but eventually it became normal. That and seeing soldiers everywhere. Once we had a quick breakfast in Jerusalem we headed for Bethlehem. After all we had planned to be in Bethlehem for Christmas Day.
We made our way to the Arabic bus station near Damascus gate where we hopped on a bus to Bethlehem. There was already such a difference. Being on a lively bus with Arabic music, such a difference from a bus full of Israeli soldiers. Once we arrived to Bethlehem we walked the long way to find our hostel. But, luckily on the way we got to see Banksy’s art grafitti on the wall.
Once we found out hostel we had to wait a while to check in. The hostel was very central, only around the corner from the main square. Once we relaxed we started to explore Bethlehem. There was a big crowd in the main square, called Manger square. Bethlehem is not so big, so by the end of the day we had seen most of the sites. It was very Christmassy in the centre, a huge xmas tree, crib, lots of lights and of course the church of nativity.
Not a typical Christmas Day lunch : Palestinian Tajin, but it did the job.
In the evening we went into the church of nativity to see the birthplace of Jesus. We had to queue for a little. There was many tourists, a lot from Africa.
The spot where Jesus was born
Everyone was quite friendly in Bethlehem. Kids were always shouting hello, what’s your name. We had 3 little boys walk with us for a good while.
A falafel sandwich for 4 shekel to finish the day!
The next day we went to Hebron and returned in the evening to Bethlehem. This time we walked the entire wall, all the way to the checkpoint to enter into Jerusalem. It was really busy there with people arriving back from working in Jerusalem, buying fruit and vegetables and catching a taxi or bus to their home. There was zero tourists around so we took our time looking at the grafitti on the wall, taking a look at Banksy’s work along the way. There happened to be a live concert on our way back. We were too early for it though and couldn’t wait in the freezing cold for it. Here’s some pictures of the graffiti on the wall.
Catalan flag in there
Getting ready for the concert
Stayed in the Bethlehem Youth Hostel – friendly guys working there, a bit cold but a good location with super views.
To see the full album, click on the link below